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Ask Rene: A Lawyer Or An Actor – And Who Pays The Student Loans?



Ask Rene:
A Lawyer Or An Actor
And Who Pays The Student Loans?


Hi Rene,

Oh boy have we got a tricky situation!

We have two sons, Michael and Paul, the latter of whom has been at law school and just passed his bar exam.

We’re a simple family who doesn’t have much money in savings and we’ve literally sunk every penny we have into Paul’s education, as well as taking on a second mortgage and a lot of debt.

Now that Paul has finished his education though, he’s decided he doesn’t want to be a lawyer anymore and instead wants to act! My husband is furious and not speaking to our son. We worry how he’ll ever repay the student loans he’s accumulated – or why we put ourselves into so much debt for seemingly nothing. And it’s not like he’s leaving law for a stable career… it doesn’t make any sense!

We don’t want to push our son into a career he doesn’t like – but is it too much to expect Paul to at least try this career for a few years to pay off some of his – and our – debts? Maybe he’ll like it…

We’d really appreciate your take Rene…. Are we being selfish?

Yours truly,

Caroline, Connecticut



Dear Caroline:

Oh there is so much here, Good Enough Mother is not really quite sure where to start. What screams out to me is that it appears you and your husband were far more invested, literally and figuratively in your son becoming a lawyer than he ever was. That’s a big problem. And now he’s an adult, getting ready to make some decisions and you, because of your investment are raising your hands and saying, “Now hold on a minute.” Here’s how I see it breaking down.


1. The Money For His School

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When you gave it, did you mean for it to come with strings attached? Because that’s what it sounds like. Whether implicit or otherwise, you and Paul entered into an unspoken agreement; you would pay his money for school and he would do well, become a lawyer and make you proud. In other words, there was an expectation on your part. Did he always want to be a lawyer or did you steer him in that direction? Were there clues along the way that maybe he was not cut out for this but continued on for your sake?

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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